|LOST HOSPITALS OF LONDON
North St Pancras
School for Mothers
129 Queen's Crescent, Kentish Town, NW5 4HE
|1911 - 1963
Infant Welfare Centre
Following the success of the St Pancras School for Mothers in Somers Town, which had opened in 1907, the North St Pancreas School for Mothers was opened in July 1911 by a voluntary committee at No. 4 Rhyl Street to serve the northern part of the Borough of St Pancras.
The premises, lent by the Unitarian Domestic Mission, consisted of a large room. Infant consultations were held twice a week. A sign on the door prohibited the use of pacifiers (dummies) within the building, on the grounds that the real cause of the baby's crying was obscured by the use of these objects and also that the normal shape of the child's mouth might be damaged and altered by them, while a continued stimulation of saliva would undermine the digestive system.
The School proved popular and, by 1914, a branch had opened in a room in the People's Gospel Mission, Winscombe Street in Highgate New Town.
Infant consultations were held once a week, while consultations for expectant mothers took place weekly at Rhyl Street. Home visits were provided by paid and voluntary staff. Expectant mothers who were undernourished were referred to the Kentish Town Dining Room for Mothers at Lyndhurst Hall, Warden Road, or to the Invalid Kitchen at No. 23 Maiden Crescent (later to the one in Crowndale Road), where cheap dinners were provided for mothers and young children.
In 1917 arrangements were also made for rooms to be placed at the Borough Council's disposal at the Public Baths in Prince of Wales Road for one day a week for infant consultations. These rooms became the Grafton Road Centre (the women's section of the Public Baths was in Grafton Road).
In 1919 the Borough Council, which paid the rent for use of the Mission Halls, agreed to provide funds for full-time premises, and a private house in Queen's Crescent was taken for this purpose.
From January 1920 the Council also made a grant of £50 to the Kentish Town Dining Room for Mothers for the provision of cheap meals to nursing mothers and young children.
In September 1920, once the house had been readied, the School moved from its Mission Halls to No. 129 Queen's Crescent. The Council paid the rates, taxes and an annual sum in lieu of rent. The weekly infant consultations were increased from two to four sessions.
In November 1920 the weekly infant consultations at the Grafton Road Centre were also increased from one to two sessions. At the end of the year a special voluntary committee took over management of the Centre from the School.
By 1926, as well as the consultations paid for by the Borough Council, two voluntary consultations were offered for older children. Health talks were offered fortnightly by the Superintendent of the School. Funds had been raised by the voluntary committee for the purchase of a holiday cottage at the seaside, where needy and ailing mothers and their children could be sent for short periods. The committee also instituted a holiday fund.
After WW2 the School was renamed the Queen's Crescent Welfare Centre. It continued to be managed by the Borough Council.
It seems to have closed at about the same time at its sister organisation in Ampthill Square - in the early 1960s.
Present status (May 2015)
By the 1980s No. 129 Queen's Crescent had become business premises. In 1991 the large terrace house was acquired by Sapphire Independent Housing (previously Irish Centre Housing), who converted it into four self-contained apartments for single people. The building is now called Forde House.
The area around Rhyl Street had been redeveloped and the original site of the School no longer exists.
In 1914 a branch of the School opened in the People's Gospel Mission Hall in Highgate New Town.
The Public Baths, opened in 1903, have recently been restored. The building is now the Kentish Town Sports Centre, run by Greenwich Leisure Ltd.
The Ladies section of the huge complex was in Grafton Road.
The Public Washrooms and Ladies Baths building (above) and their entrances (below).
No. 129 Queen's Crescent is now Forde House.
The entrance to the building.
|References (Accessed 19th June 2015)
(Author unstated) 1914 School for Mothers. Evening Post, 30th May, 12.
(Author unstated) 1914 Lessons in motherhood. The Age, 13th May, 6.
Davies S 2014 The St Pancras School for Mothers (blog). London, Wellcome Library.
Geffen DF 1954 Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health. London, St Pancras, 5
Radford M 1936 Report of the Medical Officer of Health. London, St Pancras, p. 104.
Shadick Higgins T 1914 Report of the Medical Officer of Health. London, St Pancras, pp. 37 and 43.
Shadick Higgins T 1917 Report of the Medical Officer of Health. London, St Pancras, 22.
Shadick Higgins T 1918 Report of the Medical Officer of Health. London, St Pancras, pp. 22 and 24.
Shadick Higgins T 1919 Report of the Medical Officer of Health. London, St Pancras, 58.
Shadick Higgins T 1920 Report of the Medical Officer of Health. London, St Pancras, 18.
Sowden G 1926 Report of the Medical Officer of Health. London, St Pancras, 26.
Sowden G 1930 Report of the Medical Officer of Health. London, St Pancras, 24.
Sowden G 1932 Report of the Medical Officer of Health. London, St Pancras, 27.
Sykes JFJ 1912 Report of the Medical Officer of Health. London, St Pancras, 33.
Tracy SM 1962 Report on the Health of the Borough. London, St Pancras, 5.
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